Rate cuts fail to ignite equity marts, says FTSE

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Interest rate cuts from the world's central banks failed to bolster global equity markets in August, according to figures compiled by FTSE.

The FTSE All-World Index fell by more than four per cent in dollar terms during the month, as investors continued to be concerned about the global economic slowdown and its potential effect on corporate profits.

While the US Federal Reserve, the European Central Bank, Bank of England and Bank of Canada all cut interest rates during the month by a quarter of a percentage point, FTSE says there was little sign that previous rate reductions had succeeded in turning around the global economy.

Only a few emerging markets held out against the trend. The Thai market was August's best performer, jumping 20 per cent in dollar terms, on talk that the Bangkok government might move to support share prices.

The worst performer of the month was Finland, which is now suffering from the heavy exposure to the mobile phones industry that made the Helsinki bourse one of the world's best performers during 1999 and early 2000.

A sluggish economy also meant that Germany was one of the month's worst performers.

In Europe, the worst performing sectors continued to information technology hardware, software and telecommunications. The best performers included defensive stalwarts like tobacco, health and real estate, together with the more cyclical forestry and mining sectors.

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